What are the greatest films ever made? It’s nearly impossible to rank the greatest films ever made. A list based on audience ratings, on the other hand, comes the closest to a definitive ranking. In that respect, IMDb’s list of the highest-rated movies of all time may be the greatest of its kind.
IMDb is still one of the most prominent movie-related websites on the web. Their top-rated films list is made up of films that have received millions of ratings. While the ranking is always changing, the top films have remained quite constant for several years.
Colin McCormick updated this page on March 19th, 2022: While it’s fun to keep up with all of the new releases, it’s often simply easier to go back to those ever-popular classic films that everyone seems to enjoy. While various moviegoers have varied perspectives on what constitutes the top ten films of all time, IMDb’s top-rated films include something for everyone, ranging from Hollywood’s best to overseas hits, and from new releases to classics.
This collection is an excellent location to check for the best movies of all time, whether fans are revisiting an old favorite or catching up on a notable film they may have missed.
Table Of Content
- 1 12 Angry Men (1957) – 8.9
- 2 City Of God (2002) – 8.6
- 3 Fight Club (1999)
- 4 Forrest Gump (1994) – 8.7
- 5 Goodfellas (1990) – 8.6
- 6 Inception (2010) – 8.7
- 7 It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) – 8.7
- 8 Life Is Beautiful (1997) – 8.6
- 9 One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (1975) – 8.6
- 10 Pulp Fiction (1994) – 8.9
- 11 Saving Private Ryan (1998) – 8.6
- 12 Schindler’s List (1993) – 8.9
- 13 Se7en (1995) – 8.6
- 14 Seven Samurai (1954) – 8.6
- 15 Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – 8.7
- 16 The Dark Knight (2008) – 9.0
- 17 The Godfather: Part II (1974) – 9.0
- 18 The Godfather (1972) – 9.2
- 19 The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966) – 8.8
- 20 The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003) – 8.9
- 21 The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (2002) – 8.7
- 22 The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Rings (2001) – 8.8
- 23 The Matrix (1999) – 8.7
- 24 The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – 9.3
- 25 The Silence Of The Lambs (1991) – 8.6
12 Angry Men (1957) – 8.9
The fact that Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men is a smaller-scale film does not diminish its effect. The film is almost entirely set inside a jury room, as twelve men argue a murder case they recently presided over. The film depicts the life-or-death dispute that arises when one voice insists the accused is innocent.
While the environment may appear uninteresting, it just adds to the film’s tension. As the conversation progresses, the filmmaking effectively makes the space seem more and more restricted. The claustrophobic feeling adds to the overall atmosphere. It’s a stunning demonstration of how small-scale films can have a large impact.
City Of God (2002) – 8.6
City of God was a story that transcended language, which takes a really special international film to connect with people all across the world. The film is set in the slums of Rio and chronicles the narrative of two young children who are on opposing paths: one wants to be a photographer, while the other wants to be a criminal boss.
The film tells a gripping coming-of-age story. It’s also a stylish and compelling adventure that doesn’t shy away from the story’s darker elements yet is filled with a captivating energy.
Fight Club (1999)
David Fincher is still one of today’s most talented filmmakers. Because of his own rigorous approach and distinct visual style, his creations are typically dark, but always intriguing. Fight Club is his most well-known effort, as well as one of the most thrilling films of the 1990s.
With Tyler Durden, a mysterious philosopher who leads Edward Norton’s mild-mannered protagonist to form an underground combat community, Brad Pitt creates a legendary character. It’s a compelling watch thanks to the dark comedy, violent violence, and bizarre ideas, and the surprising ending makes viewers want to watch it again and again.
Forrest Gump (1994) – 8.7
With the titular character of Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks developed possibly his most memorable film role of all time. The film depicts the various misfortunes of a simple yet compassionate man as he unwittingly enters many of America’s most pivotal events. Hanks offers an outstanding performance, imbuing this character with just enough charm and heart to keep him from becoming ludicrous. It’s a funny, heartwarming, and enjoyable film that’s still entertaining audiences after all these years.
Goodfellas (1990) – 8.6
Martin Scorsese has a long history of gangster films, but many consider Goodfellas to be his best. It is based on the true story of Henry Hill, who rose through the ranks of a profitable and dangerous crime family. Scorsese’s brilliance in narrating this story lies in how he entices the viewer with the thrilling and sumptuous nature of the world before startling them with the violence and ugliness. It also stars Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, one of the most disturbing cinema villains of all time.
Inception (2010) – 8.7
With his mind-bending crime drama, Inception, Christopher Nolan demonstrated that he is one of the most ambitious filmmakers working today. The story revolves around a group of thieves who have the capacity to infiltrate people’s dreams and steal their thoughts. The team’s skipper, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is on a mission to score one more goal. The film’s original concept is backed up by Nolan’s spectacular visuals. It creates some memorable action sequences. It’s more than just another heist movie, with one of the most contentious endings ever.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) – 8.7
It’s a Wonderful Life, possibly the most adored Christmas classic of all time, is a film that many fans watch year after year. While it is the ideal holiday viewing experience, it is also a story that can move viewers at any time of year.
Jimmy Stewart provides a strong performance as a guy who, on Christmas Eve, finds himself in a dire situation and is granted the gift of understanding how his life affects those around him. It’s a fascinating, hilarious, and moving narrative that has stood the test of time.
Life Is Beautiful (1997) – 8.6
It’s quite tough for a film to integrate humor and an upbeat tone within a plot that also has sadness and heartbreak. However, Life is Beautiful has achieved this in the minds of many admirers, which explains its widespread popularity.
The Italian film, written, directed, and starring Roberto Benigni, depicts the story of a positive-minded Jewish man and his son who become Holocaust victims during World War II, and the father goes to great measures to persuade his kid that they are in the middle of one enormous game.
One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (1975) – 8.6
In the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Jack Nicholson gave one of his finest performances. He portrays a criminal who fabricates a mental ailment in order to avoid prison by being sent to a psychiatric facility. He rises to the top of the strange group of patients and confronts the nasty head nurse.
The film is a fantastic mix of humor and drama, with Nicholson giving one of his most devilishly delightful performances. As a result, we have a story that is both sophisticated and memorable.
Pulp Fiction (1994) – 8.9
One of the most well-known directors of all time is Quentin Tarantino. His distinct voice, in-depth understanding of the film industry, and knack for combining hysterical comedy with deadly violence inspired a generation of filmmakers. Many consider Pulp Fiction to be his masterpiece, and it’s difficult to disagree.
The video alternates between numerous storylines set in the underbelly of Los Angeles. Tarantino takes well-known criminal stories and adds his own unique spin on them. The picture is surprising and fast-paced, with constantly quotable dialogue and a terrific soundtrack to match. It’s been imitated a lot, but it’s never been replicated.
Saving Private Ryan (1998) – 8.6
Over the course of his career, Steven Spielberg has directed a number of war films, but Saving Private Ryan has been recognized as one of the best films ever to convey the brutality and confusion of battle. Tom Hanks plays the head of a band of troops who embark on a rescue mission to locate a soldier who is being sent home.
The film’s portrayals of WWII fighting have been hailed as some of the best ever seen on screen. The movie is elevated from a normal team-on-a-mission adventure to a genuinely impacting experience thanks to Spielberg’s great vision and compelling storytelling.
Schindler’s List (1993) – 8.9
Steven Spielberg is credited with directing some of the greatest films of all time. However, his most difficult film to see has the highest rating, which is fitting given that it is one of his best works as a director.
Schindler’s List is a heartbreaking account of Oskar Schindler’s real-life efforts to save Jewish inhabitants of Germany during Nazi control. While Schindler may be a heroic figure, the film excels as a chilling depiction of the Holocaust. Spielberg crafted a film that will linger in the minds of spectators for years to come, shot in haunting black and white.
Se7en (1995) – 8.6
With the gripping serial killer film Se7en, David Fincher secured his place in Hollywood. It’s a thriller with a scary idea that will terrify moviegoers. The audience, on the other hand, was not prepared for the intensity and shocking drama that was about to unfold. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman feature as two homicide investigators on the hunt for a serial killer who kills people based on the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s an atmospheric and unsettling crime procedural with one of Hollywood’s most startling endings.
Seven Samurai (1954) – 8.6
Akira Kurosawa’s influence on Hollywood directors cannot be overstated, and his picture Seven Samurai is possibly the most influential of them. Not only has the picture been turned into Western films such as The Magnificent Seven, but the filming approach has also received several homages. The action-adventure story follows a squad of masterless samurai who are recruited by poor farmers to guard their community against robbers. It is unquestionably one of the greatest action films of all time, and it continues to thrill audiences decades later.
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – 8.7
No Star Wars film made it into the top ten, which may surprise some fans. What’s less unexpected is that The Empire Strikes Back is the franchise’s highest-rated film. This time around, the story set in a galaxy far, far away was much darker and more intricate.
The heroes are split throughout the plot, and Darth Vader is closing in on them. This film genuinely demonstrated how much sequels can advance a tale, with interesting growth for returning characters and some famous new ones showing up.
The Dark Knight (2008) – 9.0
The superhero genre may not be well-liked by most moviegoers, but Christopher Nolan’s second Batman feature proven that it is capable of producing intelligent, grandiose, and thrilling films.
The Dark Knight tells the story of Batman’s desperate quest to stop the Joker from destroying Gotham while searching for a new guardian for the city. The film has the sense of a crime drama, with some spectacular set pieces and unexpected turns. The late Heath Leger’s spellbinding portrayal as the anarchist Joker, however, is the film’s most memorable aspect.
The Godfather: Part II (1974) – 9.0
Francis Ford Coppola’s decision to make a sequel to his critically praised crime drama The Godfather: Part II may have looked absurd at the time, but it turned out to be a brilliant one.
The film depicts the narrative of young Vito Corleone, played by Robert De Niro, who makes the part his own in the absence of Marlon Brando. The sequel covers Michael’s continued plunge into the world of crime, as well as his problematic relationship with his brother Fredo, in addition to those fantastic flashback scenes. A fantastic continuation and a stand-alone masterpiece.
The Godfather (1972) – 9.2
Even though The Godfather: Part II is one of the most famous films of all time, it isn’t the best of the trilogy. That distinction belongs to the original. Although there is much discussion among film enthusiasts as to which is the superior film, it is reasonable to conclude that they are both monumental triumphs in cinema.
The Corleone family, an Italian-American mafia family, struggles to preserve power after their patriarch is nearly slain in this film. The movie is violent, humorous, passionate, emotional, and many more things. There are numerous quotable phrases and memorable situations in this film. It’s no surprise that many of today’s top directors see it as an inspiration.
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966) – 8.8
With distinct methods of filmmaking that were unlike anything audiences had seen before, the so-called Spaghetti Westerns forever transformed Westerns. In that subgenre, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is the classic entry.
In the midst of the Civil War, three lethal men embark on a journey to recover buried wealth. The film made Clint Eastwood a star and gave moviegoers one of the most iconic film scores of all time. It also helped establish the Mexican Standoff style, which is still employed in action movies today.
The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003) – 8.9
Few believed it would be possible to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s enormous Lord of the Rings saga for the big screen, but Peter Jackson proved them all wrong. Jackson managed to bring one of the greatest film trilogies of all time to a fitting conclusion with The Return of the King.
The quest to destroy the One Ring comes to a close in this film. While the film is mocked for its protracted conclusion, Jackson and his team did an excellent job of bringing it all to a climax in this emotional extravaganza that boasts some absolutely incredible fight sequences.
The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (2002) – 8.7
Given that The Two Towers is the lowest-rated film in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, it’s clear that this is a popular franchise. The Fellowship was split in the second film as they fought to confront Sauron’s evil forces. The film is another great fantasy epic with two prominent elements: the correct introduction of Gollum and the massive and thrilling fight action in the third act.
The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Rings (2001) – 8.8
The Fellowship of the Rings is the first installment of Peter Jackson’s tremendously successful fantasy trilogy. Fans were taken to Middle Earth, where Frodo Baggins and a band of heroes set out to destroy the mighty One Ring before Sauron could use it for evil, as J.R.R. Tolkien’s works were brought to life.
The film does an excellent job of introducing this lovely world and its inhabitants. Fun, terror, and action abound in this simple yet exhilarating journey. It’s easy to see why fans were captivated to this franchise right away.
The Matrix (1999) – 8.7
With The Matrix: Resurrections on the horizon, many fans will no doubt be revisiting the first film, which remains one of the most innovative films of the 1990s. The Matrix is a genre masterpiece, from the creative action to the thought-provoking story.
Keanu Reeves plays Neo, a bored office worker who discovers a startling truth about the world he lives in and sets out on a journey to become humanity’s savior. It has held up exceptionally well for an action film even after more than two decades.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – 9.3
It should come as no surprise that the highest-ranking film of all time is also one of the most popular. It’s reasonable to imagine that a movie set inside a maximum-security prison won’t have many happy moments, but The Shawshank Redemption is a surprisingly upbeat story.
The film is based on a Stephen King story and follows a friendship between two inmates over several years at the titular jail. The two men’s friendship is one of the most heartwarming ever depicted on screen, and it contributes to the film’s wonderful moments, which culminate in one of cinema’s best endings.
The Silence Of The Lambs (1991) – 8.6
Audiences sometimes want to watch a film that keeps them on the edge of their seats the entire time. The Silence of the Lambs, starring Jodie Foster as an FBI agent who seeks the help of serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in order to apprehend a fresh criminal, provides just such an experience.
Although Hannibal Lecter has become one of the most famous movie villains of all time, he is not the sole cause for the film’s success. It’s a magnificent demonstration of acting, writing, and directing that fills the audience with fear while keeping their eyes glued to the screen.
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